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PHY immunizes datacenters from EMI

Posted: 16 Jul 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PHY? datacenter? Ethernet?

 Triveni APM9689x

Applied Micro Circuits Corp. recently launched the Triveni APM9689x family of dual and quad port, low-power 100/1000/10GBASE-T PHYs.

Featuring the Media Access Control Security engine and energy saving modes such as Energy Efficient Ethernet and Wake-on-LAN, the devices cancel interference due to walkie-talkies, cellphones and other wireless devices, solving a critical technology challenge for robust, high-speed Ethernet connections for the datacenter.

Cost-effective 10Gbit/s Ethernet links are critical in enterprise and datacenter applications. The 10GBASE-T technology provides up to 100m of datacenter cabling and offers a lower cost alternative to top-of-rack and short-reach optical solutions. A report by The Linley Group expects the 10GBASE-T market growth to accelerate in 2011, and nearly double in annual revenue over the next several years. However, the growth of this technology has been inhibited due to lack of low-power and robust solutions.

"The market for 10GBASE-T designs is primed for high-volume growth as makers of datacenter systems anticipate the broad adoption to higher network speeds over existing copper cables and connections," said Jag Bolaria, senior analyst for the Linley Group. "AppliedMicro enters the field with 40nm low-power quad and dual 10GBASE-T devices. The company differentiates it's silicon with a DSP technique that compensates for radio-interference, which is an impairment at 10Gbit/s."

With the attenuation of a 10Gbit/s signal over media such as a Cat6A cable, even a small amount of RF interference can overwhelm the input signal at the receiver, making it potentially impossible for the DSP to correctly identify and reconstruct the signal. This results in dropped links for the duration of the interference. In the absence of EMI cancellation techniques, 10GBASE-T PHYs go to "fast retrain" to re-establish a dropped link within 30milliseconds. This results in the loss of Ethernet packets, making it unsuitable for a large number of applications. AppliedMicro's Triveni family is addressing this problem by employing patent pending EMI cancellation techniques that would prevent a 10GBASE-T link from dropping in the presence of RF interference created by overhead air traffic communications, TV signals and walkie talkies.

"10GBaseT adoption has been limited not merely by power per port but by the robustness issues surrounding past generation PHYs. This is due to interference from walkie-talkies and other wireless devices that operate within the signal bandwidth of a 10GBASE-T receiver," said Sandeep Gupta, general manager of the transport and datacom business unit at AppliedMicro. "AppliedMicro's patent-pending EMI cancellation architecture is expected to resolve this serious issue while maintaining high performance and offering a very versatile matrix of features."

Power scaling

The Triveni family offers an industry-leading power dissipation of approximately 3.5W at full 10Gbit/s rate while operating in 100m mode on a CAT6A cable. Dynamic power scaling further reduces the power for shorter cable reaches and intra-rack applications. The industry's smallest footprint of 21mm x 21mm for the dual and 27mm x 27mm for the quad make Triveni solutions ideal for network interface card/host bus adapter, LAN-on-Motherboard or high-density switch card applications.

In 2007, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study identified significant growth in the number of datacenter servers and predicted that energy use by servers and the supporting infrastructure would double over five years. Energy costs for businesses are increasing dramatically and datacenter usage places a significant strain on the existing power grid. AppliedMicro offers a complete suite of energy-efficient modes in the Triveni family, including WOL, EEE and link power detect modes to help alleviate datacenter power usage. Depending on link utilization and system requirements the Triveni PHY can save significant amounts of power. Smart MAC offload features can power down other components on the card to further reduce system power.

Data security is becoming increasingly important as more and more sensitive data gets sent over networks as the industry shifts to virtualization and cloud computing. Triveni includes a flexible MACsec engine to protect, validate and authenticate data while providing vital statistics to the system, which is important for ensuring the security for the links that transmit sensitive data.

Samples of the Triveni family will be available in Q3 10.

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